Pakistani police have registered five cases against Baloch nationalist leaders, including Brahamdagh Bugti, for allegedly supporting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on the restive province, officials said on Monday.
The cases were registered against Bugti, Hyrbyair Marri and Karima Baloch at five police stations in Khuzdar area, police officials said.
All three leaders are currently in self-exile. Baloch Republican Party president Brahamdagh Bugti lives in Europe, Marri is based in London and Baloch Students Organisation-Azad leader Karima Baloch fled last year to Canada, where she has applied for refugee status.
Police acted after complaints were filed by five private petitioners. One complaint alleged the leaders had asked Modi to intervene in Balochistan. The leaders were booked under sections 120, 121, 123 and 353 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
These provisions refer to “waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against Pakistan”, concealing plans to commit an offence punishable with imprisonment, and use of criminal force to deter public servants from discharging their duty.
Police official Muhammad Ashraf Jatak told the media the complaints alleged that the three Baloch leaders had “supported” Modi’s Independence Day speech, in which he referred to people who had thanked him for raising the issue of alleged rights violations in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Earlier, Modi had triggered a storm by saying Pakistan would have to answer for alleged rights violations in Balochistan and PoK. Pakistan’s Foreign Office has said the remarks were aimed at diverting attention from the unrest in Kashmir sparked by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani more than a month ago.
Last week, Pakistan Workers Party chairman Khudai-e-Dost Kakar filed a complaint at a police station in Quetta seeking the registration of a treason case against Brahamdagh Bugti. “Brahamdagh Bugti is involved in anti-state activities in Balochistan at the behest of Modi and his country’s spy agency RAW,” he said.
Modi’s statements also sparked protests across Balochistan, with people taking to the streets in several cities. Provincial chief minister Sanaullah Zehri condemned Modi’s statements and alleged that the Indian government “fully supports the ongoing insurgency in Balochistan”.
He further alleged that the Indian government “is deeply involved in sponsoring” Baloch nationalist leaders such as Brahamdagh Bugti, Harbiyar Marri, Zamran Marri and Allah Nazar. Zehri accused Bugti of “getting funds from Indians”.